Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Shrimp Po' Boy

New Orleans is a magical place.  One of the many contributing factors to her magic is the fact that she is port city.  Port cities by their nature become brews of the various peoples who pass through.  People come to port cities and when they come they bring with them their culture.  This always includes food.   The influences of French, Arcadian, Italian, African, and Native American travelers can be felt on her streets and tasted on her plates.  From the finest fare to the lowly sandwich, New Orleans is a place like no other.  

Po’ Boys and Muffulettas are the two sandwiches most associated with New Orleans.  Muffuletta, Italian in origin, is a type of bread and the name of a sandwich served on that bread.

Po’ Boys are exactly what they sound like, food for the working class.  The source of the name is disputed.  It could come from the French term ‘pourboire’ which is a tip given to a waiter.  Or it could come from a streetcar strike which took place in 1929.  Bennie and Clovis Martin were streetcar conductors until they opened their own restaurant, the Martin Brothers' Coffee Stand.   When their former Union brothers went on strike they promised to serve them for free. These sandwiches were what they served.  Word of their generosity spread.  The depression soon followed, but even a Po’ Boy could afford this sandwich.

The basic Po’ Boys hasn’t changed much in eighty something years.  They are always served on a French baguette.  Usually consisting of roast beef, fried shrimp, or fried oysters, the sandwich is ordered ‘dressed’ or ‘undressed’.  A ‘dressed’ Po’ Boy comes with tomato and lettuce, although some places also offer pickles and slices of onion.  When you order, ask for ‘hot’ or ‘regular’, which refers to the type of mustard you will be getting.  Don’t ask for mayonnaise, that isn’t how you make a Po’ Boy.  Some places serve them with rèmoulade sauce.  I like mine dressed and hot.

Serves: 2-4
Time:    Prep: 20 minutes;   Cook: 5-15 minutes
Hardware:  A cutting board and knives, an airtight container, a heavy skillet (for frying), a slotted metal spoon (or a spider/skimmer), an oil thermometer, a gallon plastic bag, a paper towel covered plate

  • 1 pound large shrimp (21-25 count)
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon of corn starch
  • 1 tomato
  • ½ head iceberg lettuce
  • 1 cup rèmoulade sauce
  • 1 French baguette
  • oil for frying
I like my Po' Boy with Dirty Rice 

  1. Clean the shrimp. Place the clean shrimp, 2 tablespoons of the Cajun seasoning, and the cayenne into the airtight container.  Toss to make sure the shrimp are thoroughly seasoned.  Put the shrimp in the fridge until you are ready to cook them.
  2. Slice the tomato and shred the lettuce.  Set aside.
  3. Add enough oil to fill the heavy skillet up half way.  Heat it on medium high.  When the temperature reaches 375°, the pan is ready.
  4. Place the flour and corn starch in the Ziploc with the remaining seasoning. Shake the bag. Add the shrimp to the Ziploc bag and shake like crazy.
  5. Shake as much flour as you can from the shrimp.  Fry them for 3-5 minutes or until cooked through.  Don’t crowd the shrimp.  You may need to cook them in batches.  Use the thermometer to keep the temperature between 370° and 375°. Using the slotted spoon, move them from the oil to the paper towel covered plate.  You can keep them warm by placing the plate in the oven on the lowest setting.
  6. To prepare the Po’ Boys, slice he baguette, but not all the way through.  Spread a little rèmoulade sauce on the bread.  Fill the baguette with shrimp then drizzle on more sauce.  Top the shrimp with tomatoes and lettuce. 

A perfect meal is a Shrimp Po' Boy,  Dirty Rice, and Sangria

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